James Cook was born in November 1728 and joined the Merchant Navy in his teens. He transferred to the Royal Navy in 1755 and during the seven years war was tasked with mapping the St Lawrence River in Canada. The results of his work impressed the Admiralty and he was given command of HMS Endeavour in 1776 and sent on 3 expeditions to map the Pacific Ocean. His work was the most complete mapping of that Ocean and the countries contained in it that had been carried out. On his first voyage, he became the first European to visit the East coast of Australia at a place he called ‘Botany Bay’ (in April 1770). He later travelled up the coast and in June he ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef and had to spend a number of weeks repairing his ship in the estuary of the Endeavour River (near Cookstown, Queensland) before continuing his journey.

In January 1779 on the last of these 3 voyages, he put in at Hawaii. There was an exchange of gifts with the local Hawaiian rulers, but there was also a story that some items were removed from the town without payment or permission. Cook’s ships set sail but was caught in a storm and had to return to Hawaii to carry out repairs. It is not very clear what happened but relations between the native population and the Europeans were not friendly. During this visit, a boat was stolen by the Hawaiians and maybe in an attempt to get it returned Cook tried to capture the local chief and hold him as a hostage. They got as far as the beach but were confronted by an angry crowd of native Hawaiians. Shots were fired by Captain Cook’s marine escort and during the melee that ensued Captain Cook was stabbed. The marines and sailors managed to get to the boats and escape leaving behind the chief and the body of their dead Captain. Repairs on the ships took a further week to complete and during this time the ships bombarded the town causing a lot of destruction.

Despite all that happened, and contrary to some later reports, the Hawaiians treated Captain Cook’s body with the same reverence as one of their own people, carrying out the local funeral rites before returning his preserved remains to the Navy who buried them at Sea.

This statue of Captain James Cook by Thomas Brock can be found on the Mall near Admiralty Arch.



Early caseless chiming clock. some parts date from 1450


This tower was added so that a monk could watch the relic chapel below – a sort of medieval security guard.


Tomb of John Chambers – last Abbot of the monastery and first Bishop of Peterborough, one of the few abbots to keep a post following the dissolution of the monasteries.


The Ropery in Chatham Dockyard is the only one of 4 original Royal Navy Ropeyards still in operation. Rope has been made on this site for over 400 years. The building is over a quarter of a mile long.


The rope is made by taking individuals strands and winding them together. This process can be repeated a number of times to produce the required thickness of rope.


Inside the ropery – the machinery travels from one end to the other in the production of the rope. At this end the strands are held in place.



The heads which combine the strands into one rope.

As the strands pass through the heads they are combined


Keeping the rope taught and a quick way to get from end to end of the Ropery


The finished rope is coiled


The Ropery still makes traditional ropes for sailing ships etc but also produces rope made from more modern materials


The Guards Memorial, situated opposite the Whitehall parade ground, was designed by the sculptor Gilbert Ledward and was erected in 1926 to commemorate the battles of World War I and in memory of the officers, non-commissioned officers and guardsmen of the royal regiments of Foot Guards who gave their lives during the Great War 1914-1918. It also contains a memorial to the Officers and Men of the Household Cavalry, Royal Regiment of Artillery Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps and other Units who served in the Guard’s Division in France and Belgium 1915-1918.




Posted: December 7, 2017 in Birds, Natural History

On last weeks trip to Lynford in Norfolk, I had some wonderful views of Nuthatch.

In many ways, it resembles and behaves like a small woodpecker. Most commonly seen in woodland, although we do get the occasional one in the trees in the garden – probably foraging from the nearby woods. They are resident birds and it is estimated that there are approx 220,000 breeding pairs in the UK.

Some great Monochrome images. I have been doing some monochrome images for a project recently and have been surprised how much more effective monochrome images can be when compared to the same image in colour.


I have had a week without any walks but it has given me the opportunity to catch up on my photography and review some of my images of walks in the Yorkshire Dales.

I have converted the images to Monochrome which reminded me of the many happy hours I spent in the darkroom back in the 80’s.

B. Cairn on Twistleton Scar

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This is the oldest part of the Cathedral, where work started in 1118.

19th-century copy of medieval ceiling. Original had been badly damaged by Parliamentarian musket practice during the civil war.


Tomb of Unknown Anglo-Saxon saint or bishop c800AD



A Sloop launched at Sheerness in Kent in August 1878 she saw service in the Pacific from 1879-1883 before returning to the UK. In 1885 she was sent to the Mediterranean sea and was used in anti-slavery patrols. She also saw action off the coast of the Sudan and Eygpt. From November 1888 she was assigned to carry out survey work in the Meditteranean Sea, which she did until 1891 and again from 1892-1895.

In March 1895 she returned to Chatham, where she was assigned to Harbour duties. In 1900 she was used as accommodation by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Co at Grain. In 1903 she became the Royal Navy volunteer reserve drill ship moored in the London docks and was renamed HMS President after its predecessor in that role. She was relieved of that duty by HMS Buzzard in spring of 1911. In 1913 she was loaned out as a training ship under the command of C B Fry, the famous Cricketer and transferred to the River Hamble where she served as a dormitory for boys training to join the Royal Navy. She remained at Hamble until the school closed in 1968. The ship was given to the Maritime Trust for restoration, the years in the Hamble having taken a toll on the structure. Restored to her 1888 glory she was, in 1994, passed onto the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust where she is now on display.



Pleased to see that the wintering Grey Wagtail that visited the garden regularly last winter has returned. We think it must winter on the Tarn but seems to like foraging around the feeder station in the garden. I am not sure what it is finding there as they normally feed on aquatic or other insects. Maybe it is hunting ants?

A crisp chilly morning and I was on my way to Norfolk / Suffolk borders with the local RSPB group. Our first stop (apart from a comfort stop) was at Lynford Arboretum in Norfolk. This is a known wintering site for the elusive Hawfinch, the largest of the UK finches. This autumn has seen an eruption from the continent with many more sightings than normal, so hopes were high. As we walked down the track, our attention is drawn to a Common Kestrel in a tree in the adjoining paddocks.


And then it became clear that there were small birds in the top of an adjacent tree – these turned out to be a flock of Hawfinches. Unfortunately, they are too far for decent photos, but they can easily be identified through telescopes.




Hawfinch. Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)


Six birds flew off, going away from us, and another 2 were still in the tree which brought the total seen to 8. I understand that a flock of up to 11 has been counted here in the past month.

Walking on down the path we came to the rear access to Lynford Hall Hotel and someone had put out some seed on one of the posts of the bridge over the stream. This attracted in a lot of woodland birds including Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch and Great Tit.

A Kingfisher was seen travelling back and forth along the stream and as we retraced our stops 2 Hawfinches were seen again in the top of a tree.

Making our way back into Suffolk we stopped at Lackford Lakes, a large complex of lakes adjacent to the River Lark. It is a good site for wintering waterfowl, but like many places in the UK, they don’t seem to have arrived yet in any great numbers, presumably due to the recent mild weather. Still a few have made it like this Drake Goldeneye which fed most of the day in front of Winter hide.

Another nice sighting was a small flock of Bullfinches seen near Paul’s hide

There were also a number of Marsh Tits at different places around the reserve but I couldn’t get any decent photos of them. Other birds seen included Tufted duck, Common Pochard, Eurasian Teal, Robin and Gadwall.

This was my first visit to both these sites and I look forward to visiting again in the future.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)
Eurasian Bullfinch [sp] (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)
Hawfinch [sp] (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)